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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Mi-24 Military Helicopter Shot Down in Chechnya

VLADIKAVKAZ, North Ossetia -- A military helicopter was downed by a missile in Chechnya on Saturday, killing the two pilots, officials said.

The crash came less than two weeks after a transport helicopter was brought down by a missile in the deadliest surface-to-air attack against federal forces fighting Chechen rebels.

The Mi-24 combat helicopter was shot down near the village of Meskety in southeastern Chechnya, a Defense Ministry spokesman said. It was one of two Mi-24 combat helicopters flying with an Mi-8 transport helicopter, he said.

Nikolai Deryabin, the ministry's chief spokesman, told Interfax the Mi-8 was delivering food to units operating in mountainous parts of Chechnya.

On Aug. 19, a huge Mi-26 transport helicopter crashed on its way to military headquarters in Khankala, killing 118. On Friday, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said there were "no doubts" a missile caused the crash.

Meanwhile, troops killed three rebels using special equipment designed to explode remote-controlled land mines as they are being set, Itar-Tass reported Saturday. Citing security officials in Grozny, it said three rebels were killed over the past 24 hours using the equipment, which is dubbed "anti-terrorist."

Remote-controlled mines are responsible for many of the daily casualties among federal forces in Chechnya. Military officials have said the anti-terrorist equipment would help combat this rebel tactic but have given no details about how it works.

On Friday, a mine killed two Interior Ministry officers in a military truck and wounded five in the Urus-Martan district, an official in the Moscow-appointed Chechen administration said.

The anti-terrorist device was used in the Shali district, Itar-Tass reported. It caused the remote-controlled mines to detonate, killing the three rebels. The powerful explosion made it impossible to identify the rebels, the agency said.